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Dancing in the Snake Pit

for oboe and piano

Year:  1998   ·  Duration:  10m

Year:  1998
Duration:  10m

Composer:   Maria Grenfell

Films, Audio & Samples

Maria Grenfell: Dancing in ...

Embedded audio
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Sample Score

Sample: Pages 1 - 8

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Inspired by the vivid and colourful writing of Salman Rushdie's East, West short stories, Dancing in the Snake Pit evokes an Eastern flavour with musical ideas based on a scale constructed like the ragas found in Indian music. Dancing in the Snake Pit depicts a snake-charmer, who begins his bold recitative and stirs to life the inhabitant of a deep pit. Slowly the snake awakens from his slumber, and starts to move to the gentle undulating rhythm. Little by little, as the snake-charmer weaves his spell, the snake begins to dance: hesitantly at first, but growing bolder and stronger until its rapid movements coincide with the charmer's hypnotic and rhythmic dance. Suddenly a bell is heard softly in the distance. The snake grows weary of the dance; he crawls back into the darkness, and sleeps.

Commissioned note

Commissioned by Robert Orr for the 1998 New Zealand International Festival of the Arts with funding assistance from Creative New Zealand

Performance history

16 Mar 1998: Performed by Robert Orr (oboe) and Diedre Irons (piano)